# 1X4=4 marks, or 4X1=4 marks? : Standard practice of indicating marks on question papers

#### Englishmypassion

##### Senior Member
Dear Teachers,
Good morning.
A question on an exam has four parts: (i), (ii), (iii) and (ix). Each part carries 1 mark. How should the marks be indicated against the instruction for the question on the question paper: 1X4=4 marks, or 4X1=4 marks? I know how we read them: the first number is times, i.e. "1X4=4" is read "One times four is/equals four". Going by this logic, the marks should be indicated as "4X1=4 marks", but logic is not always applied in English. What I am interested in knowing is the most standard British and American practice of indicating marks on question papers when the multiplication sign is used.

1. Answer each question in one word only. 1X4=4 marks, or 4X1=4 marks ?
i)...
ii)...
iii)...
iv)...

Thank you very much.

Last edited:
• #### Hermione Golightly

##### Senior Member
I've never experienced a test or exam where 'times X' was used to explain a total.
I've only seen a written explanation something like this: 'This is a four part question. Each part carries 1 mark for a possible total of 4", then '(1)' at the end of each section. I'll be interested to know what current practice is.

#### Glenfarclas

##### Senior Member
What I am interested in knowing is the most standard British and American practice of indicating marks
American practice doesn't indicate "marks" (whatever those are), it indicates points. And I would not expect to see any kind of multiplicative notation there, but rather something like "(1 point each.)"

#### Hermione Golightly

##### Senior Member
I am pretty sure 'points' would be used in BE too in this instance. I got so wrapped up in the 'times' business, that this difference didn't register.
Just to confirm - I would expect to see ( X points) at the end of each question, where X indicates the number of points.

By the way, I am a native speaker of BE English.

#### PaulQ

##### Banned
Hermione Golightly's answer at #2 is what appears on BE examination question papers: "This is a four part question [sometimes "This question has four parts"]. Each part carries 1 mark for a possible total of 4", then '(1)' at the end of each section." and, as is to be expected from Hermoine, cannot be faulted.

#### Englishmypassion

##### Senior Member
Thank you very much everybody.
Question papers in India often indicate marks using the multiplication sign. May I ,please, ask how you would indicate them if you were to set such a question paper using the multiplication sign? I guess you would go by the logic then, i.e. 4X1= 4 marks in the case in question. Right?

H.G., I didn't for a moment doubt your being a knowledgeable native speaker and requested for "other native speakers'" answers just to see if the same practice was followed everywhere. I am extremely sorry if you took my post to mean that.Thanks a lot for your answers. I am much obliged.

#### PaulQ

##### Banned
4 x 1= 4 marks (Note spaces and lowercase 'x'.)

#### Englishmypassion

##### Senior Member
Thank you so much, PaulQ. It's so kind of you.

#### natkretep

##### Moderato con anima (English Only)
Yes, in BrE we talk about marks for exams and tests, and points for quiz questions, competitions and so on. It is not often that multiplication would be indicated, but I can imagine a multiple choice exam where some questions were worth 2 marks, and some others worth 3 marks. After marking the exam, I might indicate that there were 22 2-mark questions answered correctly, and 10 3-mark questions answered correctly by writing:

22 x 2 = 44
10 x 3 = 30
---------------
TOTAL: 74

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